In brief

Two flights cancelled at Tbilisi airport due to pilot strike in Lufthansa

by | November 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi international airport reported two flights are postponed on Wednesday because of the pilot strike in Lufthansa. The two affected flights were to have been carried out early Thursday morning, Tbilisi-Munich at 4.05am and Munich-Tbilisi at 5.00am.

News

Putin ratifies agreement to join military forces with breakaway Abkhazia

by | November 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian President Vladimir Putin has ratified an agreement to join the military forces of Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia, with the Russian armed forces. The combined forces agreement signed on November 21, 2015 establishes a joint

News

FGM will be ended ‘very soon’ in Georgia, says acting justice minister

by | November 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A government spokesperson says she had never imagined that female genital mutilation is being practiced in Georgia, and that the practice will be ended very soon. Three villages in the eastern Kakheti region are maintaining the practice which

Politics

Georgia’s Prime Minister reveals new cabinet: Who’s in and who’s out?

by | November 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s acting head of government Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday unveiled his new cabinet, with only minor personnel changes from the last one. One notable change is the promotion of Dimitri Kumsishvili from Economy Minister to the more important

News

McCain visits Georgia in January

by | November 21, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Before the America’s president-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of the office, a leading Republican Senator,   Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, and his fellow party member Lindsey Olin Graham will lead a congressional delegation to Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia January to push back against Trump on Russia policy.

News

Georgia wins Junior Eurovision Song Contest

by | November 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for the third time. At the final, which was held in Malta, Mariam Mamadashvili won with a performance of the song ‘Mzeo’ which garnered 239 points.

News

Georgia’s patriarch pledges to mend ties to Russia

by | November 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Patriarch Ilia II joined other Eastern Orthodox leaders in Moscow on Sunday to attend the 70-year anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to the Patriarchate of Georgia, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II was invited by the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

Minorities

Transgender Day of Remembrance observed in two cities in Georgia

by | November 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The International Transgender Day of Remembrance was observed in two cities in Georgia on Sunday. In Kutaisi and Tbilisi, small gatherings commemorated transgender people who have been murdered as a result of transphobia.

Politics

Georgian parliamentarians appointed faction leaders

by | November 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The newly elected parliament mits first session on Friday, and one of its first decisions was to register five factions and the majority and minority. The Georgian Dream majority consists of 116 MPs. 115 are members of Georgian Dream, which received

Politics

Government takes caretaker role as parliament begins selecting new cabinet

by | November 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament approved the composition of the new parliament on Friday, and the government now has a caretaker role until lawmakers has approved a new government. MPs voted to recognize the authority of the ninth parliamentary assembly.

News

Ivanishvili sells de Kooning painting at Christie’s for USD 66 mill

by | November 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A large, colorful abstract Willem de Kooning painting from one of the artist’s most productive periods was Tuesday sold at Christie’s post-war and contemporary auction in New York. The price: USD 66.3 million. The Dutch-American artist’s ‘Untitled XXV’ from 1977

Politics

UNM member refuses to serve in Adjara’s supreme council

by | November 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A politician for the UNM party in Adjara has refused to serve in the region’s supreme council, echoing a recent decision by Sandra Roelofs, the former first lady, to not take her seat in parliament. Levan Varshalomidze, former chairman of the Adjara government,

News

Margvelashvili vows to protect presidential powers in the face of GD-dominated parliament

by | November 18, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - President Giorgi Margvelashvili said that he wouldn't tolerate acts directed against state institutions in his welcoming speech on Friday at the opening session of the newly elected parliament.

News

Israel prepares to turn away asylum seekers from Georgia and Ukraine

by | November 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Israel might begin rejecting asylum requests from citizens of Georgia and Ukraine, Tel Aviv-based newspaper Haaretz reports. The past two years have seen a surge in asylum requests by Ukrainians and Georgians, as citizens of these countries

News

Defense officials accused of mixing politics and service vow to clear their name

by | November 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two high officials in Georgia’s Defense Ministry temporarily suspended themselves from their duties on Wednesday, after being accused of abuse of power during the Saakashvili presidency. Sergo Ninua and George Tsabadze, both lieutenant-colonels

News

Georgian opposition party threatens to plant marijuana on New Year’s Eve

by | November 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A political party in the former Soviet republic Georgia has launched an unusual campaign to legalize marijuana: If the parliament doesn't decriminalize the weed by the end of the year, they will plant the narcotic plant in their office on New Year's Eve.

Politics

UNM nominates parliament posts while discussing successor to Saakashvili

by | November 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement has nominated Sergi Kapanadze as vice speaker of parliament from the minority. The leader of the parliamentary minority will still remain Davit Bakradze. He was speaker of parliament from 2008 to 2012. Nika Melia, who was UNM’s candidate

Economy

Plans revived for Trump Tower in Batumi, Georgia

by | November 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Plans for a Trump Tower on Georgia’s Black Sea coast are being revived, after laying dormant for the last five years. Newly elected US President and businessman Donald Trump visited Batumi personally in 2012 and later praised Mikheil Saakashvili

Europe

Georgia’s Orthodox Church realizes it was wrong about EU and NATO

by | November 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Clergy from the Georgian Orthodox Church describe getting rid of some misconceptions about NATO and EU after a visit to Brussels last week. The unprecedented visit started November 7 with Georgian clergy meeting NATO's envoy for South Caucasus

Crime

Man sentenced to 12 years for attack on opposition politician

by | November 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Tuesday sentenced a man to 12 years in jail for shooting an opposition politician last February. Alexi Petriashvili, then the party secretary of the Free Democrats, was approached by two men on a cemetery in the middle

News

Georgia slightly improved in Internet Freedom ranking

by | November 16, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Internet freedom across the globe declined for a sixth constructive year and two-thirds of the world's internet users live in countries where authorities resort to censorship. However, Georgia has improved its position and has ranked as a free country according to a report released on Tuesday by Freedom House, a US government-funded pro-democracy NGO.

Economy

Money transfers to Georgia up 14% in October year-on-year

by | November 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The flow of money into Georgia grew by 14 percent in October, according to the latest monthly report by the National Bank. The money flow into the country was USD 102.5 million, USD 12.6 million more than in October 2015. 91.9 percent of transfers

News

Mogherini situation in Georgia ‘extremely encouraging’ to get visa waiver

by | November 15, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini on Monday has emphasized that the situation in Georgia is ‘extremely encouraging, extremely positive’ to deliver on visa liberalization for the citizens of the country.

Crime

Nanny caught on camera beating ten month old baby

by | November 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 60-year-old woman was arrested in Tbilisi on Tuesday, accused of beating a 10-month-old girl she was looking after. The accused has been working as a nanny for a family in Tbilisi for a month and half, according to a statement by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

News

Georgian diplomat nominated as UNWTO Secretary General

by | November 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the first time Georgia has nominated a candidate for the position as Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the period 2018-2021.

News

Saakashvili ally Khatia Dekanoidze resigns in Ukraine

by | November 15, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Ukraine’s National Police Chief Khatia Dekanoidze who was in charge of police reform in the country stepped down on Monday just in a week after resignation of her compatriot and ally, Odessa governor Mikheil Saakashvili.

News

Opposition-leaning Tabula TV temporarily suspends broadcasting

by | November 15, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - In an official statement released on Monday on its website, Tabula named ‘change the format of its broadcasting, as part of larger structural changes to our operating procedures’ as a ground for suspension.

News

Georgian social drama wins awards at European festivals

by | November 15, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - An award-wining Georgian film ‘Anna’s Life” directed by Nino Basilaia has triumphed at the prestigious film festivals in Europe this weekend. Soon after winning the Grand Prix for the

In brief

Georia’s trade turnover grew 22% Jan-Oct 2016

by | November 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover increased by 22 percent in the first ten months of 2016, but against a background of increased import and reduced export. The trade turnover amounted to USD 9,950 million, according to preliminary figures published

Economy

Georgian lari tanking, on course for second record low this year

by | November 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian lari is on course for a new historic low, after setting a record earlier this year at 2.4921 laris per US dollar. Today it is valued at 2.4899. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili explained the new drop in the value of the lari is as a result of growing imports.

News

Saakashvili believes Ukraine’s Poroshenko won’t extradite him to Georgia

by | November 14, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who recently resigned as Odessa governor and is set to lead an opposition party, believes that Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko won’t honour Tbilisi’s request to extradite him in the homeland, where he faces criminal charges.

News

Saakashvili forms new political party in Ukraine, demands snap election

by | November 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili has formed a new political party in Ukraine, demanding early elections there. The announcement comes a few weeks after his party in Georgia, the National Movement, was defeated in the parliamentary

Crime

Prison inspector accused of asking for bribe to get prisoner released early

by | November 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s secret police on Friday arrested a prison inspector for attempted fraud. The suspect is working at prison no 16 in Rustavi south of Tbilisi and is accused of trying to help an acquaintance get a prisoner released earlier in return for USD 7,000 bribe.

Security

Germany thanks Georgian soldiers for helping repel attack on consulate

by | November 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Germany thanked Afghan and Georgian forces on Friday for repelling an attack on a German consulate in northern Afghanistan the day before. The attack on the consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif ended as the attackers were pushed back by consulate security,

News

Gubaz Sanikidze leaves National Forum, former GD coalition partner

by | November 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The change of leadership among Georgian Dream's former coalition partners continued Friday, as Gubaz Sanikidze said he is leaving the National Forum after the election defeat last month.  Sanikidze has been one of the party’s most active

News

Russian MFA Warns Citizens of risks travelling in Georgia

by | November 11, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Amid growing inflow of Russian tourists to Georgia, the Russian Foreign Ministry warns its citizens about the risks associated with such visits, referring to the Law on Occupied Territories, which may result for RF citizens facing formidable fines or even prison term.

Minorities

Murdered transgender women remembered in Tbilisi

by | November 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Friends and activists gathered Thursday to remember the transgender woman Sabi Beriani, who was brutally murdered in Tbilisi two years ago. November 10 has become a national day of remembrance for transgender victims of violence,

News

Exiled Saakashvili losing grip on party, blasts former associates

by | November 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who recently resigned as governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region, blasts members of the National Movement for bowing to the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party. On Wednesday, in a video interview

News

Body of German missing since July found in Svaneti

by | November 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of a German man who has been missing since July was found Thursday in Svaneti, a mountainous region in northwest of Georgia. Sergei Smislov’s family has been looking for him for several months, believing that he was kidnapped

News

NATO starts joint military exercises in Georgia

by | November 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian army on Thursday has begun two weeks of military exercises with the NATO at the Vaziani military base, in Tbilisi eastern outskirts. The Joint Training and Evaluation Centre

News

IWPR Reveals Female Genital Mutilation Practice in Georgia

by | November 10, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - An Institute War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) has unveiled that a small native Caucasian ethnic group living in a remote east area of Georgia, has been performing female genital mutilation (FGM) practice during past two decades.

News

Tbilisi reacts to Trump’s victory

by | November 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian leaders congratulated Donald Trump with being elected as president of the United States, while political analysts in Tbilisi tried to predict how the result will affect US-Georgian relations. Georgian Dream parliamentarian Gia Volski

News

Georgia’s President: two-party dominated parliament won’t encourage development

by | November 9, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch- President Giorgi Margvelashvili has announced that he feels disappointed regarding country’s parliamentary elections, as he was expected a multi-party system in the newly elected parliament, but it turned into a bipolar.

News

US support for Georgia will be even stronger: Ambassador Kelly

by | November 9, 2016

Tbilisi,DFWatch - Following the tense electoral night in the United States, Ian Kelly, US Ambassador to Georgia has emphasized that no matter who wins, US will remain strong alley to Georgia.  

News

New Rights leaves Paata Burchuladze-led coalition

by | November 9, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Political party New Rights left a coalition led by operatic bass Paata Burchuladze after it suffered sound defeat in the parliamentary elections in October. Mamuka Katsitadze, lead figure at the New Rights,

Politics

Sandra Roelofs refuses to serve as member of Georgia’s parliament

by | November 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former first lady Sandra Roelofs has turned down her mandate to serve as a member of parliament despite being among the top ten names on the National Movement’s party list. On Monday, Roelofs asked the Central Election Commission (CEC)

In brief

Head of Georgian Church to attend patriarch Kirill’s 70th Jubilee in Moscow

by | November 8, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The head of Georgian Church  is expected to pay a visit to Moscow in November to attend a 70-year jubilee of his Russian counterpart. According to the Patriarchate of Georgia,  Catholikos-Patriarch Ilia II was invited by the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

News

Pankisi native, reportedly ISIS member, killed in Middle East

by | November 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more Pankisi native has been killed in the Middle East. Reports vary about where the 24 year old Mukhad Khangoshvili was killed. According to Interpressnews, which relies on an unidentified source in Pankisi, it happened in Mosul,

News

Georgia reintroduces compulsory military service

by | November 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Levan Izoria said Monday that he is reversing a decision by his predecessor Tina Khidasheli to end compulsory military service. He made the announcement on Monday during a meeting with the media to present a report about his first 100 days on the job.

News

Georgian ex-President Saakashvili quits as governor of Odessa

by | November 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The exiled former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili announced on Monday that he is leaving as governor of Ukraine's Odessa region, a position he has held since May 2015. During a press conference broadcast on his Facebook page,

Politics

GD presents its list of committee heads in the new parliament

by | November 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a landslide victory in the election, Georgian Dream bigwigs gathered on Sunday to agree on key appointments for the new parliament. After the political council session was over, GD announced its list of candidates, which, not surprisingly,

News

19-year-old girl took part in ‘ritual murder’ of her own mother

by | November 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The teenager colluded with her boyfriend and another friend to knock her elderly mother unconscious, then they stabbed and killed her, dismembered the body, burnt it with gasoline at a garbage dump in Tbilisi and threw it in a ditch, according

Politics

GD considers its party secretary as new speaker of parliament

by | November 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After several weeks of speculation, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Friday confirmed that the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party is considering its secretary Irakli Kobakhidze for the post as new speaker of parliament. It was expected that the stern

News

29-year-old man arrested for beating his 15-year-old wife

by | November 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 29-year-old man was arrested a few days ago in Georgia for beating his 15-year-old wife. The young victim’s mother says her underage daughter has broken teeth, broken ribs and a broken nose after suffering systematic abuse at the hands of her husband.

Elections

Third suspect arrested for disrupting election in Jikhashkari

by | November 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia on Thursday arrested a third person for creating a disturbance at an election precinct near Zugdidi during the parliamentary election on October 8. Deputy Interior Minister Shalva Khutsishvili told journalists on Friday

News

Three Chinese citizens arrested in Georgia, suspected of assaulting workers

by | November 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested three Chinese citizens on Thursday, as workers on a railway line in western Georgia claim that they were beaten by representatives of the company. In a short statement, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said its investigators

News

Georgian lari drops again, approaching important benchmark

by | November 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The opposition in Georgia is blaming the government of impoverishing the country after the lari dropped in value again and is approaching a ‘psychological’ benchmark rate of 2.50 against the US dollar. Its official rate against USD was set as 2.4195

Politics

GD plans to replace ministers in charge of the economy

by | November 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a crushing victory in the parliamentary elections, Georgia’s ruling party this week began the work of forming a new government. Several changes have been proposed ahead of a meeting in the GD political council to take place at the end of this week.

Minorities

Commission suggests making mosque ruins cultural heritage site

by | November 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A commission tasked with settling a dispute between Christians and Muslims over the ruins of a mosque in the south of Georgia delivered its recommendations on Thursday, but it is uncertain if this will help solve the two year old conflict.

Elections

Georgia’s ruling party secures enough seats to amend Constitution

by | October 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling party Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia won a constitutional majority in the second round of the parliamentary elections, winning all but one majoritarian district, mostly by a significant majority. In Mtatsmimda district, GD had decided

Elections

Many irregularities in second round of Georgia’s election for parliament

by | October 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In parts of Georgia, voters went to the polls again on Sunday in the second round of the parliamentary election. There were runoff contests in 50 single-seat districts, accounting for a third of the seats in the assembly. Voting took place against a background

Politics

Speaker of parliament leaves Republican Party

by | October 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili on Saturday announced his resignation and departure from the Republican Party, which he was leader of from 2005 to 2013. He stated his reason as disagreement with the founders and current leadership about the party’s

Elections

UNM claims governor of Samtskhe-Javakheti attacked its cameraman

by | October 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement has accused the governor of the southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region of physically assaulting one of its photographers on Thursday evening. Nikoloz Khizadze claims he was heading to the village Muskhi to document

News

63-year-old railway worker dies after being run over by train

by | October 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 63-year-old man died on Thursday after being run over by a train three weeks ago in the south of Georgia. Zaur Gerliani, who worked as a fitter, had one of his legs run over by a train as he was out repairing tracks in the mining town Kazreti, near Bolnisi,

Economy

First road, now airport – PM promises to develop mountain region Tusheti

by | October 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two months after promising to build a new road to Tusheti, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili now suggests building an air strip in the inaccessible region in the northeast of the country. It's an attractive tourist destination, but difficult to access.

News

168 prisoners pardoned in Georgia

by | October 27, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Georgian president pardoned 168 prisoners, 114 of them will leave jail today, while the rest had their sentences reduced, the commission’s head, Zviad Koridze, stated at a briefing on Thursday.

News

Georgian Manganese lawyer arrested on corruption charges

by | October 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A lawyer working for Georgian Manganese was arrested for corruption on Tuesday. Mirian Bichikashvili is accused of commercial bribery, the Finance Ministry said. Georgian Manganese owns mines in the small town of Chiatura as well as the ferro-alloy plant

Economy

Georgian Railways considering Tbilisi-Kutaisi airport train

by | October 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Railways is considering creating a new train line connecting the airports in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, with regular departures. Spokesperson Dachi Tsaguria told Kutaisi Post that Georgian Railways is currently researching whether the new

Politics

Free Democrats rebels vow to support GD in second round of election

by | October 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several key figures in Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats party have expressed support for the ruling Georgian Dream before the second round of the parliamentary elections in most majoritarian districts. "In a few days, there will be a second round.

Roads update

Caucasus mountain road closed in north Georgia due to snow and ice

by | October 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A key mountain road that connects north and south Caucasus is now closed for large vehicles because of snow and ice.  Trailers, semi-trailers and vehicles with more than 30 seats are prohibited from driving on the S-3 between Gudauri and Kobi, the Road Department

In brief

Two die as car plunges into river in southwest Georgia

by | October 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two men died in a car accident in a mountainous area in the southwest of Georgia on Monday. One woman survived and was taken to hospital. The accident happened in Keda, a municipality in the Adjara region. The local gamgebeli

News

Victim of shooting at Krtsanisi training ground was 23-year-old Giga Shengelia

by | October 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of a man who was shot dead at a military base in Tbilisi Sunday morning has been identified as 23-year-old Giga Shengelia. Two other persons who were with Shengelia are being searched for, although their identity has not yet been established.

Security

Georgian president picks former GIPA colleague as new NSC secretary

by | October 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Monday named Davit Rakviashvili, an old colleague at a media and public relations school in Tbilisi, as new secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council. The friendship between the two go back 30 years,

News

One man shot dead during intrusion attempt at Tbilisi military base

by | October 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An attempt by a group of people to enter a military base in Tbilisi Sunday morning left one young man dead after the sentry fired shots at the intruders. The mother of the deceased reacted strongly at the implication that her son would harm anybody.

Elections

UNM and GD won one contest each in repeat election

by | October 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement yesterday won the repeat election in a precinct in the south of Georgia, while Georgian Dream won in the western Zugdidi area. But the UNM candidate didn’t win by more than 50% at the 48th precinct in Marneuli,

Elections

Saakashvili’s wife withdraws from Georgian runoff election, citing fraud

by | October 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former first lady Sandra Roelofs is withdrawing from the runoff election for parliament in Zugdidi, after the repeat ballot in three of Zugdidi’s precincts reveals that her opponent from the Georgian Dream is leading by a significant margin.

News

Will Georgia end compulsory military service? Decision expected in Nov

by | October 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--It is still unknown if a decision by the former Georgian defense minister to end compulsory military service will become a reality. A decision may be expected in November, because Defense Minister Levan Izoria promised to ‘clarify’ the issue by next month,

News

One soldier dies as truck overturns in Georgia

by | October 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One soldier died as a military truck overturned on a highway in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region on Friday. The other 36 soldiers who were in the same vehicle received only lighter injures. 27 of them were first brought to a hospital in Dedoplistskaro,

Elections

Four precincts in Georgia vote again due to irregularities on Election Day

by | October 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Repeat elections are held today at four precincts in south and west of Georgia where results were cancelled October 8 due to irregularities. The results of one precinct in Marneuli and three in Zugdidi were cancelled due to attacks on Election Day. The main

News

Handover of suspected murderer topic at EU-hosted talks about Abkhazia

by | October 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia demanded the handover of a suspected murderer during a six hour meeting with breakaway authorities in Abkhazia this week. The meeting was held in Gali, in the southern end of the region, and dealt first and foremost

News

One more construction worker dies in Tbilisi, the second in two days

by | October 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more construction worker died in Tbilisi on Thursday; the second fatality at a construction site in two days. The accident happened as pipes were being unloaded from a truck on Khizanishvili Street in the northern Mukhiani district of the capital,

News

Georgia and Russia take further steps toward normalizing relations

by | October 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The two countries, which were at war with each other eight years ago, both expressed interest in continuing a pragmatic course in order to normalize relations, according to a statement put out by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

News

Zaza Tavadze elected new head of Supreme Court

by | October 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court elected Zaza Tavadze as new head on Thursday, by five out of eight votes. He will replace Giorgi Papuashvili. The ballot was secret, but it is likely that the following judges supported Tavadze: Merab Turava, Lali Papiashvili, Teimuraz Tughushi

In brief

Car crash in Rustavi claims two lives

by | October 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two people died in a car accident in the Georgian town Rustavi on Wednesday. Interpressnews reports that a Mercedes travelling at high speed crashed into lighting pole on Mshenebeli Street near Public School No 2. Two men died on the spot.

In brief

Construction worker falls to his death in Tbilisi

by | October 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A worker fell from a building at a construction site in Tbilisi on Wednesday. He was brought to the Republican Hospital with multiple head injuries and placed in intensive care, but died later the same day. The Ministry of Internal Affairs

Crime, News

Man suspected of stabbing transgender woman placed in pre-trial detention

by | October 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The 31-year-old suspected of viciously attacking a transgender woman in Tbilisi on October 14 was Wednesday placed in pre-trial detention. The accused Giorgi Murjikneli’s lawyer asked for his client to be released on 1,000 lari bail, but the judge

News

PM Kvirikashvili: A group will be set up to amend constitution

by | October 19, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Amid growing concern over imminent constitutional majority in the hands of Georgian Dream, Prime Minister airs his initiative to set up a group, which will work on amending constitution.

Elections

Tbilisi NGO workers urge opposition for action against imminent GD constitutional majority

by | October 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Individual members of some of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Georgian capital Tbilisi are now calling on opposition political parties to call on their voters to support opposition candidates in the second round of the parliamentary election, fearing that the ruling Georgian Dream might secure enough seats in the new parliament to amend the Constitution on its own. In a letter addressed to opposition parties like Free Democrats, Republican Party, UNM, Labor Party, GIRCHI, Paata Burchuladze's State for People, New Rights and New Georgia, as well as the president (the latter was omitted in the edited version), the NGOs warn that with a constitutional majority, the ruling party will be able to amend the Constitution and disrupt the balance of power between the different branches of government. “Call on your supporters to vote for the candidates of the opposition in the second tour of the election in order to avoid a constitutional majority,” the letter reads. The NGOs fear that Georgian Dream may violate the balance of power in the government branches. Spokesperson for the president Eka Mishveladze said that during the entire election campaign, ...

News

Free Democrats leader Alasania may be appointed NSC secretary

by | October 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Irakli Alasania, the former defense minister and leader of the Free Democrats who ‘temporarily left’ politics after his party failed to reach the minimum 5% in the election, may be hired by the president’s administration. According to domestic media,

News

Russian, Turkmen and Ukrainian airlines open new flights out of Tbilisi

by | October 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three new airlines are opening flights out of Tbilisi from November: Turkmenistan Airlines, the Ukrainian DART Airlines and Russia’s Pobeda. Turkmenistan Airlines will fly twice weekly (Mon, Thu) to Ashgabad, starting November 2. DART Airlines begins flights

Elections

Georgia to hold second round of parliamentary election Oct 30

by | October 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The date for the second round of Georgia’s parliamentary election has been set to October 30. 50 election districts will vote for single seat candidates for parliament, the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced. Candidates for the ruling GD

Crime

Suspect arrested for blowing up MP’s car days before election

by | October 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was arrested Monday in Georgia, accused of involvement in the blowing up of MP Givi Targamadze’s car just days before the parliamentary election. The man, born in 1976, was arrested as part of the investigation into the explosion

Crime

Escaped burglar arrested in Tbilisi with jewelry from new heist

by | October 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian robber who escaped from a court building in August by feigning illness was caught on Sunday with jewelry from a recent heist. Otar Varamashvili escaped from Rustavi City Court on August 31 by claiming he was ill and running away during

News

31-year-old arrested for attack on transgender woman

by | October 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested a man on Sunday who is suspected of having attacked a transgender woman two days before. The suspect is accused of attempted murder. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the 31-year-old was on probation

News

Transgender woman hospitalized after vicious attack in Tbilisi

by | October 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 32-year-old transgender woman was Friday evening severely beaten in Ortachala, a district in the south of Tbilisi. According to Imedi TV, there were two assailants. Her throat was slit. She remains in the emergency ward in a serious condition,

Elections

Six alleged election day troublemakers placed in pre-trial detention

by | October 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six people who were arrested for participating in the attack  on an election precinct October 8 were placed in pre-trial detention by Rustavi City Court on Friday. A crowd threw stones at and smashed windows at the 48th election precinct ithe a village Kizilajo.

Minorities

Muslims conduct prayer on ruins of mosque in Mokhe

by | October 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims in the village Mokhe in the south of Georgia on Thursday conducted a prayer on the ruins of a mosque which the local government in 2014 declared that it wanted to turn into a culture house. The plans by local Orthodox Christians to appropriate

Elections

Six arrested for the mass unrest in Marneuli on election day

by | October 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested six people on Thursday who are accused of attacking an election precinct in Marneuli in the south of Georgia on election day October 8. The six are arrested for interrupting the work of the local election commission

Economy

Georgian developers plan Sheraton and Radisson in Gudauri

by | October 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s winter resort Gudauri had 127% growth in visitors since last year. Now developers plan a Radisson and a Sheraton hotel there. Malkhaz Kunelauri from the real estate company RED-CO told journalists that the first phase of the planned new hotels

Elections

Police in Georgia arrest a person for causing havoc in election precinct

by | October 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police arrested one person regarding an attack on an election precinct during the election Saturday in Zugdidi, in northwest Georgia. The target of the attack was the 79th precinct, in the village Jikhashkari. Kako Tibua said through his lawyer that he was unlawfully arrested and has started a hunger

Politics

National Movement decides to not boycott parliament

by | October 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After considering a boycott of parliament, the National Movement on Tuesday turned back from the drastic measure and decided to participate in the second round of the election and take their seats in parliament. Some party members wanted

Politics

UNM political council convenes Tuesday to set out post-election path

by | October 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement plans to convene the party’s political council Tuesday evening to discuss further plans after dismissing the results of the parliamentary election. Some proposed to boycott the second round of the majoritorian elections

News

Mine worker in Tkibuli found dead from apparent suffocation

by | October 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Workers in one of the mines in Tkibuli in western Georgia found a co-worker dead on Friday, apparently from gas poisoning. The accident happened in the Mindeli mine. Workers found the body in the morning as they arrived at work. It looks like 51-year-old Temur Kakauridze

News

National Movement debates whether to boycott parliament

by | October 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A discussion is going on within the National Movement about boycotting parliament, with the one side wanting to start with not participating in the second round of the parliamentary election. Former President Mikheil Saakashvili got involved from

Politics

Buoyed by election result, GD begins pushing for constitutional amendments

by | October 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Already before the official election results have been announced, the ruling Georgian Dream party is talking about making two constitutional amendments. Another round of single-seat districts has still not been held, and no-one knows how many members

Elections

Free Democrats leader leaves politics after failing to get into parliament

by | October 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian defense minister Irakli Alasania said Monday that he is quitting politics ‘temporarily’ after his party failed to surpass the 5% threshold in the parliamentary elections. Alasania’s statement came after the Central Election Commission (CEC)

In brief

Confusion over election math: Will Georgia’s third party get into parliament?

by | October 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--There is confusion over how to interpret the results of Saturday's election in Georgia. A CEC spokesperson said Monday that the third party Alliance of Patriots is still below the threshold, but even so, the commission will discuss if it may still be qualified with 4.998%.

Elections

51 election districts will hold second round of parliamentary election

by | October 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--51 election districts in Georgia will likely hold a second round of parliamentary election; 18 of them will be in the capital Tbilisi. After 99.92% of votes have been counted, the governing Georgian Dream party has 48.6% in the proportionate system.

Elections

Third party Patriot Alliance is 244 votes from getting into parliament

by | October 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Alliance of Patriots is out of parliament, after it seemed for a few hours it had succeeded in surpassing the minimum threshold. At 3pm, the Alliance was at exactly 5 percent, and seemed qualified to get representatives into the new national assembly as the third party,

Elections

National Movement rallies outside CEC, will challenge election result

by | October 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former first lady Sandra Roelofs, who is running for parliament representing her husband’s party in western Georgia, has disputed the preliminary results which show that she did not win an outright victory. After 82 percent of votes had been

Elections

Preliminary results: Patriot Alliance gets into parliament with 17 votes margin

by | October 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three parties are predicted to surpass the 5% percent threshold and make it into parliament, after 82.55% percent of votes have been counted, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said. As the results currently stand, Georgian Dream looks to get 49.26 percent,

News

Exit polls: GD has won the election, UNM came second

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream is predicted as winner of the parliamentary election, based on the preliminary results of two exit polls. In the exit poll by GfK, Georgian Dream will get 39.9 percent, and United National Movement is second with 32.74 percent.

Elections

Georgia deploys special police to voting precinct to put down unrest

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A crowd armed with batons and stones attacked a precinct in Marneuli, a town in south Georgia, allegedly stealing a box of ballot papers. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said police were dispatched to Marneuli’s 48th precinct

News

Saakashvili won’t leave Ukraine, regardless of election outcome

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says he doesn’t plan to leave Ukraine, where he serves as governor of the Odessa region, no matter what the results of today’s parliament election is. “I won’t abandon my huge plans to help Ukraine,”

Elections

Voter turnout 20% by noon in uncertain Georgian election

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--All election precincts in Georgia opened at 08:00 in the morning, according to Central Election Commission (CEC), and the election is proceeding peacefully. Voter turnout was 19.81 % by 12:00, according to the CEC. Most government officials

Elections

Georgians vote in uncertain parliamentary election

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians go to the polls on Saturday to elect 150 new members of parliament, with no party or bloc likely to win an outright victory. 73 of the new MPs will be majoritarians, while the rest will come from the party lists through a proportional

News

Suspect identified after Tuesday’s car bomb in Tbilisi

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A suspect has been identified in the case of a car bomb on Tuesday targeting the car of a member of parliament for the National Movement. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said Friday evening that law enforcement bodies searched

Elections

Two UNM activists charged with violence against GD members

by | October 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two National Movement activists have been charged with violence and threats against members of the governing Georgian Dream party at a campaign event in western Georgia a few days ago. The incident happened on October 1

Crime

Policeman’s wife shot in the head, case investigated as suicide attempt

by | October 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A policeman’s wife is in hospital in Kutaisi, fighting for her life after being shot in the head with her husband’s gun Thursday evening. Authorities are investigating the case as a suicide attempt. Early media reports indicated that the policeman

News

CEC traces violations in the campaign ad of Georgian conservative party

by | October 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Central Elections Administration (CEC) rejected a plea by major conservative party against the main opposition-leaned TV channel, which cancelled broadcasting its electoral advertisement. CEC ruled that Alliance of Patriots’ video

Elections

Saakashvili’s party rallies ahead of election

by | October 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three days before Georgians go to the polls, the National Movement on Wednesday rallied their supporters in Tbilisi. Former President Mikheil Saakashvili addressed people from Odessa, Ukraine on a big screen via Skype. He criticized

News

Georgian troops vote in Afghanistan

by | October 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian troops serving within NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan cast their ballots on Wednesday, three days prior of the parliamentary elections, which is scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 8.

News

Tbilisi politicians react to last night’s car blast, assign blame

by | October 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian politicians Wednesday reacted to the explosion which blew up of the car of a parliamentarian the night before. Different culprits were singled out but they seemed to agree that the purpose was to affect the outcome of the parliamentary

News

Suspect turns himself in after shooting at political rally

by | October 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have arrested a person accused of shooting and injuring two persons at a political rally in Gori on October 2.  According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), investigators have determined that the suspect fired shots during the meeting,

News

Georgian MP’s car explodes near Freedom Sq in Tbilisi

by | October 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An apparent car bomb exploded in central Tbilisi Tuesday night, targeting the car of a member of parliament for the National Movement. The car’s owner MP Givi Targamadze was sitting in the front passenger seat as it exploded. He was not seriously injured. Georgia’s deputy interior minister, who was at the scene, said five people were injured by the explosion. Four are hospitalized, and one of them is in grave condition. In a phone interview, Targamadze said he believes the explosion was the result of a deliberate act. He believes that it was a bomb placed in the rear of the car. The rear section of the car is completely destroyed. Targamadze said it happened as he left the office. He was in the car with his driver. “I left the office. I moved to the Kolmeurneoba Square. At first, I couldn’t understand what was happening. I thought that someone was shooting at us. When we came to better consciousness we left the car. Me and my driver do not have a lot of injuries,” he told Rustavi 2. The UNM party figure also said ...

Politics

Saakashvili mocks Ivanishvili: ‘You are destined for defeat’

by | October 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvil has mocked his main opponent former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, saying he was destined for defeat in the October 8 election. Saakashvili, who is governor of Odessa in Ukraine,

Politics

Two wounded in shooting at political rally in Georgia

by | October 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian defense minister claims he was the target when shots were fired during an election rally in Gori, a town 60km northwest of Tbilisi, on Sunday. Irakli Okruashvili was meeting voters in the town where he is a candidate

News

Tourism jumps by one fifth, statistics

by | October 3, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia had a 19.5 percent growth in tourism in the nine months in 2016, according to the data released by National Tourism Administration on Monday.

Youth

Georgia’s Constitutional Court strikes down tough marijuana law

by | October 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a law that has landed many young people in jail for years for using marijuana. The court abolished part of article 273 of the Criminal code, which mandated jail sentence for anyone caught

News

Pope Francis speaks of the importance of women during mass in Tbilisi

by | October 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Pope Francis on Saturday conducted a mass on Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in the center of the Georgian capital Tbilisi. In his sermon, the head of the Roman Catholic Church spoke about the importance of women in Georgia, quoting Mother Teresa,

In brief

Radicals object to Pope’s visit to Georgia

by | September 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A radical Orthodox Christian group Friday protested against Pope Francis’s visit to Georgia with a small gathering of about 30 persons shouting ‘devil’, ‘cursed’ and holding posters with messages like ‘Antichrist, get out of Georgia.’

News

Pope Francis visits Georgia

by | September 30, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Pope Francis’s aircraft landed at Tbilisi International Airport on Friday afternoon. Next day he’s having a mass and sermon in Tbilisi second largest football stadium, where he’ll likely touch political themes. However, Georgia’s ambassador at Vatican isn’t optimistic the Pope will use a term ‘occupation’. Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, head of Georgian Orthodox Church, as well as President Giorgi Margvelashvili met the Pope at the airport.

News

Anti-NATO, antigay MP withdraws from majoritarian race, express allegiance to Ivanishvili

by | September 29, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A member of Georgian parliament, notorious for his radical anti-NATO, antigay statements, Thursday withdrew his candidacy in a majoritarian district and expressed support to Georgian Dream and its founder, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Nine days before the election Tamaz Mechiauri, MP and a leader of a party 'Tamaz Mechiauri – United Georgia", released a statement informing that he will continue election campaign. Tamaz Mechiauri was a member of GD but left it after constant bickering with Republican Party members, which was also in the same coalition that time. He set his party up only after formally leaving GD in June. Mechiauri called for the voters of Georgian Dream to support him. ‘Despite different views about the country’s foreign policy, our party expresses support to Bidzina Ivanishvili and his team and is ready to stand by him in any critical situation, including the attempt of destabilization,’ Mechiauri’s short Facebook statement reads. Recently anonymous video tape was published on YouTube purporting that United National Movement leaders, including ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, plotting revolution in Georgia after elections, if they lose. Soon the GD politicians ...

In brief

Government embarks on examining beauty salons

by | September 28, 2016

Tbilisi, DFwatch - Beauty salons have to formally register at the Public Registry from October 1, in order to be properly examined by the Ministry of Health in the frames of the government program aimed at eliminating Hepatitis C.

In brief

UNM pledges not to prosecute Ivanishvili after elections

by | September 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement will not prosecute Bidzina Ivanishvili and his supporters , Giga Bokeria, the party's foreign affairs secretary said at a briefing on Wednesday. Bokeria predicts 'inevitable' loss by the Georgian Dream,

News

Neo-Nazis marched Tbilisi center, 11 detained

by | September 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Eleven people were detained for hooliganism Tuesday night during a rally of radical Georgian youth groups in downtown Tbilisi. The police interfered only after the march of Georgian Power, an overtly neo-Nazi bunch of teenagers, went sour,

News

Burchuladze kicks out his major partner, Girchi, from coalition

by | September 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Paata Burchuladze, a world famous operatic bass who recently formed a political coalition with three other parties, said that he asked Girchi, one of the most important parts of his coalition, to leave.

News

Saakashvili heard plotting revolution in Georgia in Youtube tape

by | September 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An audio tape was published Tuesday which appear to capture a conversation between former President Mikheil Saakashvili and other UNM party members plotting a revolution in Georgia. The tape was uploaded to Youtube by a user called Creative Georgia News.

News

Georgia’s ruling party not planning final rally ahead of election

by | September 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's governing party denies that it is planning a final campaign rally before the parliamentary election, despite claims to the contrary from its challenger UNM. One of Georgian Dream’s main challengers, the National Movement (UNM),

Economy

Caucasus rail-link to help Iranian companies establish foothold in Europe

by | September 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Railway is in talks about increasing rail freight between Iran and Bulgaria through Georgia. The target group of the plan is Iranian investors looking to establish a foothold in the European market. Through using the railway connection

Politics

Ivanishvili recommends Garibashivili as future president

by | September 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Businessman and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said Monday that he would like to see Irakli Garibashvili as president. Ivanishvili said this while meeting with local media in Rustavi, a town south of Tbilisi. He said the former PM is ‘a good option for a spare’

Education

Student activists interrupt opening ceremony at TSU

by | September 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Student activists interrupted the traditional welcoming of new students at Tbilisi State University on Monday, in protest against the election of a former deputy education minister as new rector. An activist group called Auditorium 115 prevented Giorgi Sharvashidze

Minorities

After waiting nine years, Radio Marneuli prepares to finally go on air

by | September 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Marneuli, a predominantly ethnic Azerbaijani town in the south of Georgia, the community radio is the only media outlet which is critical of the local government and trying to be balanced, unbiased and objective. The people behind Radio Marneuli went through many difficulties until they finally

Media

Village trustee in Georgia resigns after hitting journalist in the face

by | September 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The trustee of a village in eastern Georgia has resigned after admitting that he hit a journalist in the face. The journalist, Gela Mtivlishvili, had showed up at a stretch of road where asphalt was being laid down in pouring rain in anticipation of a visit by

Youth

TSU students threaten to resume protest after rector’s election

by | September 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students at Tbilisi State University threaten to resume their sit-ins and blockades after a former deputy education minister Friday became new rector in what they claim was rigged a election. Gia Sharvashidze was backed by 21 members of TSU’s academic council.

News

Tbilisi-Beijing flights launched by China’s Southern Airlines

by | September 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Beijing-Urumqi-Tbilisi flights have been scheduled from Friday, according to Georgia’s National Tourism Administration. China’s Southern Airlines, China’s largest flight companies, will carry out the flights two times in every week.

News

Three ex-officials including Vano Merabishvili found guilty of beating MP in 2005

by | September 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court has found a former interior minister and two other ex-officials guilty of beating a parliamentarian in 2005. The guilty verdict against Vano Merabishvili, Erekle Kodua and Gia Siradze

Crime

A hundred illegal slot machines confiscated

by | September 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Financial crime investigators in Georgia have confiscated a hundred home-made slot machines that were placed in several cities around the country. The grey and blue columns do not look like typical slot machines, but offer customers

Minorities

Muslims in Kobuleti win symbolic victory in discrimination lawsuit

by | September 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Batumi, the City Court on Monday ruled partly in favor of the Muslim community in a conflict about a planned religious boarding school called a madrasa. The court case, which has lasted two years, deals with a conflict among locals in the town Kobuleti,

News

Saakashvili’s ally in Odessa indicted by Georgia

by | September 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office of Georgia (POG) has indicted a former Georgian official and Odessa governor confidant in Ukraine for directing a brutal dispersal of opposition rally back in 2011. Gia Lortkipanidze, a deputy of then omnipotent

In brief

Man electrocuted trying to save 3-year-old girl who fell into swimming pool

by | September 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A young man was electrocuted in Batumi on Wednesday after he jumped into a swimming pool to save a three-year-old girl. The incident happened at about 11:00 in the morning in a guesthouse at a place called Benze. A girl fell into the pool in the garden

News

Orthodox group in Georgia threatens to protest against pope’s visit

by | September 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of orthodox Christian parents in Georgia are planning to demonstrate against Pope Francis during his visit the coming week. The group is called the Union of Orthodox Parents and is well-known among locals for its confrontational style and conservative views.

Environment

Construction work ends on Georgia’s first wind farm

by | September 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Construction work on Georgia’s first wind farm has been completed near Gori, the Energy Development Fund of Georgia announced. The facility consists of six turbines, each with a power output of 3.45MW.

News

Ex-official has no time to answer questions about police brutality in 2011

by | September 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian government official has refused to travel from Ukraine to Georgia to answer questions about a violent dispersal of anti-government protesters five and a half years ago. Gia Lortkipanidze is head of police in Ukraine’s Odessa region,

News

Opposition journalist flees Russia, settles in Georgia

by | September 21, 2016

Tbilisi,DFWatch - Russian opposition journalist published a video on Tuesday stating he has to leave Russia and settle in Georgia ‘for some time’.

News

New charges against ex-officials for May 26, 2011 mass arrests

by | September 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office in Georgia on Tuesday charged four former officials for their handling of the dispersal of an anti-government rally in Tbilisi on May 26, 2011. The four are charged with exceeding their official powers.

News

Georgia arrests two bank robbers with some of the stolen money

by | September 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested two men Monday who are suspected of robbing several banks and a convenience store in the Vazisubani district of Tbilisi two days earlier. One of the men was arrested on the Armenian border at Sadakhlo,

In brief

Dniproavia launches direct Odessa-Tbilisi flights from October 6

by | September 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ukrainian airline Dniproavia is beginning weekly flights to Tbilisi, Georgia, starting October 6. Flights will have a duration of 2 hours and 25 minutes each way. The airline has decided to use the Brazilian twin-engine jet Embraer 145, which is capable

News

Georgia condemns Russian election precincts inside breakaway territories

by | September 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia condemned the election Sunday for the Russian State Duma inside the two breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) called on the international community to react against this

News

17-year-old who was detained on border returned by South Ossetia

by | September 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 17-year-old Georgian who was detained Friday by Russian soldiers patrolling the border of South Ossetia was returned on Saturday. Joni Gogichaishvili’s return was confirmed by the European Union Monitoring Mission to Georgia (EUMM),

News

Russian patrol detains 17-year-old Georgian on disputed border

by | September 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border guards on Friday detained a 17-year-old Georgian near the border with South Ossetia. The incident took place in the village Bershueti. The detainee, Joni Gogichaishvili from the village Sobisi, was taken to the detention facility

Environment

Strong rain and flooding in Batumi

by | September 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Black Sea coast was hit by strong rain on Friday, flooding the streets and inundating ground floors and basements in Batumi, a city of 150,000 people. Emergency workers were still pumping out the flood water from houses

News

Military lyceum in Georgia starts accepting girls for first time

by | September 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Cadets Military Lyceum named after Giorgi Kvinitadze accepted girls for the first time since its establishment in 2010. The opening ceremony of the academic year 2016-2017 was greeted by President Giorgi Margvelashvili

In brief

Georgia’s foreign trade turnover Jan-Aug up 16% in 2016

by | September 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first eight months of 2016 was 16 percent more than in the same period last year, new figures from Georgia’s National Statistics Office show. The figures, presented in the latest preliminary monthly report by GeoStat,

Minorities

Georgian police accused of hate speech in lawsuit at Strasbourg court

by | September 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The beating of four Muslims by Georgian police may be brought up before the European Court of Human Rights after a human rights group in Georgia on Thursday filed a lawsuit at the Strasbourg court. The four were detained by police during a village

In brief

Storm blew roofs off houses in a dozen villages in Georgia

by | September 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Strong wind blew the roof off buildings in a dozen villages in the east of Georgia on Wednesday, Information Center of Kakheti (ICK) reported. The wind lifted the roof off houses in about ten villages  in villages in Lagodekhi municipality, in the Kakheti region,

Politics

Saakashvili preparing to stoke unrest ahead of election: Georgian PM

by | September 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili claims that Mikheil Saakashvili’s party has started several new organizations in order to foment unrest in Georgia ahead of the election. One of the new organizations started by the National Movement is Georgia in the Name

News

Republican Party leader says he was offered PM seat personally by Ivanishvili in 2015

by | September 14, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Speaker of Georgian Parliament states he was offered a prime ministerial seat by the former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili  back in April, 2015, when the post was held by Irakli Garibashvili.

News

Gaz distribution company soothes irked Tbilisians

by | September 14, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Natural gas distribution company in Tbilisi, KazTransGaz, issued an official statement on Wednesday calming down residents scared by an intense odour in their apartments.

News

Policeman wanted in Demur Sturua case gives himself up

by | September 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A policeman who has been wanted in connection with 22-year-old Demur Sturua’s suicide showed up at the regional prosecutor’s office in Kutaisi Tuesday night accompanied by his lawyer. Goderdzi Tevzadze was declared wanted by the Prosecutor

Economy

Georgia secures free trade deal with China

by | September 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has secured a free trade agreement with China which is expected to boost Georgia’s export of wine. The agreement, which still needs to be confirmed formally, will exempt goods and services that were previously charged more than 40 percent

Politics

Ex-ally claims opera star who formed new party is a puppet of Ivanishvili

by | September 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Another prominent member left opera singer Paata Burchuladze’s party on Tuesday, accusing State for People of being financed by former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. “I am leaving Paata Burchuladze’s party, because it is not Paata

Politics

Ivanishvili blasts Burjanadze: Your non-bloc idea is a bluff

by | September 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili lashed out at opposition politician Nino Burjanadze on Sunday, accusing her of bluffing when she proposed that Georgia should declare a non-bloc status. Burjanadze, a former parliament speaker,

Minorities

Georgian Muslims celebrate Kurban Bayram

by | September 12, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Muslims in Georgia, as well as around the World, celebrate Eid al-Adha, known as Kurban Bayram, major religious celebration from 12 to 15 September.

News

Party led by anti-NATO businessman disqualified from elections

by | September 12, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Gogi Topadze’s party, former member of the ruling coalition, was rejected to participate in the upcoming parliament election by the Election Administration (CEC) together with 24 other minor parties.

In brief

60-year-old Georgian cattle herder detained by Russian border patrol

by | September 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 60-year-old Georgian man was detained on Sunday near the border with Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia for violating the border. Valiko Khizanishvili, who is from the village Koshka, was detained when he was out in a field looking after cattle.

Sport

Zviad Gogochuri wins Georgia’s first ever Paralympics gold

by | September 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Zviad Gogochuri on Saturday took gold in the men’s 90kg judo competition at the Rio Paralympics. This is the first gold by a Georgia athlete in the Paralympics since the country became independent in 1991. In the final,

In brief

Georgia appoints new ambassador to the United States

by | September 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Krivikashvili on Friday appointed a new ambassador to Washington. Replacing Archil Gegeshidze is Davit Bakradze, the minister of Euro-integration who has been in charge of Georgia’s approaches to the European Union

Elections

Government reshuffle to boost GD’s election campaign

by | September 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Friday announced a cabinet reshuffle which lets two GD politicians dedicate their time to campaigning as less than a month remains before a parliamentary election where no party or bloc

News

Republican Party proposes new pension system

by | September 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party proposes a new pension system based on entitlement earned through work experience. Appearing on Rustavi 2’s election special, spokesperson Davit Usupashvili drew a line between the Republicans

In brief

Construction worker dies after fall in Kutaisi

by | September 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A worker died at a construction site in western Georgia on Thursday, after falling from a building. The incident happened on Aghmashenebeli Street in Kutaisi. The victim was a middle-age man. An investigation has been launched

News

Burchuladze’s team-mate splits, asks authorities for protection

by | September 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Political commentator Khatuna Lagazidze is leaving opera singer Paata Burchuladze’s party. She expresses concern about her own safety and asks the authorities for protection for herself and her family against ‘criminal elements’ in the party.

Elections

3.5 million have registered to vote in Georgia’s election

by | September 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 3.5 million voters had registered in Georgia by August 12; eight weeks before the election for parliament. Ana Mikeladze, Speaker for the Central Election Commission, said Wednesday that from June 10 until today, more than

News

GD announces its party list, pushing some old members aside

by | September 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling Georgian Dream announces its party list for Oct. 2, 2016 parliamentary elections, featuring mostly ‘new faces’ on its top and leaving many of its prominent members behind. The list is headed by Giorgi Kvirikashvili, current PM

Minorities

Muslims in Batumi buy land plot for city’s second mosque

by | September 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims in Batumi took one step closer to building a second mosque in the city by purchasing a plot of land on Wednesday. The initiative group for constructing a mosque in Batumi on September 7 purchased a property on Abashidze Street

News

Ivanishvili urges Alliance of Patriots to clarify its stance toward EU, NATO

by | September 8, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili criticizes Alliance of Patriots, a conservative political party, which often resorts to the populist nationalistic narrative, for having ‘no clear platform’ and advises them to inform voters what exactly they want and what direction they want to steer the country.

Crime

Fake Nokia and Samsung phones no longer on sale in this shop

by | September 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The financial crimes unit in Georgia’s Finance Ministry exposed a shop for selling fake Nokia and Samsung phones on Wednesday, which may lead to up to five years in jail. The Investigation Service revealed that phones were illegally labelled

News

Air taxi to start flying in November – check available destinations here

by | September 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A company in Georgia is offering air taxi services from November this year, taking customers to every airport in Georgia. The air taxis are run by Adjara Group. Head of marketing and business development Oto Berishvili

Politics

‘Georgia should have a U.S. military base before it gets into NATO’

by | September 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party wants to have a U.S. military base in Georgia before the country becomes a full member of NATO. This was one of the statements made by Republican Party members during a debate on Rustavi 2 Tuesday evening,

Media

Okruashvili’s stakes claim on Rustavi 2 TV with secret contract

by | September 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian defense minister has revealed the existence of a contract which appears to invalidate the takeover of one of the main TV stations in the country, as the Supreme Court is considering the case. The city court in Tbilisi decided in November

In brief

These streets in Old Tbilisi will become pedestrian zones

by | September 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six streets in the old part of the Georgian capital will become pedestrian zones, Tbilisi City Hall has decided. City Hall explained that there is a demand from people to have more pedestrian areas in Old Tbilisi and that there is need for more tourism

Crime

Tbilisi car repair shop killer caught in Zestaponi

by | September 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Monday night arrested a 24-year-old suspected of murdering a car repairman a few hours earlier at in Tbilisi. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) informs that a man was arrested for premeditated murder and illegally purchasing,

Elections

GD candidate claims UNM planning election provocations

by | September 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former human rights advocate who is running for parliament claims the former ruling party, the National Movement (UNM), is planning to provoke conflicts in the election campaign. Tamar Chugoshvili, a candidate for parliament for Georgian Dream

Economy

Azerbaijan committed to the Southern Gas Corridor: Baku official

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite the falling oil price, Azerbaijan has confirmed its commitment to the implementation of large-scale projects like the Southern Gas Corridor, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Energy Minister Namig Abbasov said at a conference

Crime

Angry customer shoots electrician at Tbilisi car repair shop

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An enraged customer pulled a gun on an electrician and shot him at a car repair place in central Tbilisi on Monday. The fatal disagreement took place on Kipshidze Street in the western Vake district. Police said the customer had a quarrel with an electrician

Europe

Committee in EU parliament backs Georgia visa waiver program

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a vote on Monday, a majority in the EU Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) supported giving visa-free access to the Schengen area for Georgian citizen. 44 voted for lifting visa rules for Georgian citizens,

Europe

EU parliament discussing visa liberalization today

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A committee in the European Parliament will discuss today whether to offer visa-free travel to the Schengen area for Georgian and Ukrainian citizens, as well as citizens of Kosovo. Claude Moraes, head of the Civil Liberties, Justice and

Crime

Rejected suitor raped woman he wanted to marry, gets 7 years’ jail

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The City Court in Zugdidi last Friday sentenced a man to seven years in jail for raping a woman and attempting to force her into marriage. Defense lawyers say the man, who was arrested April 11, will appeal the verdict. According to the Prosecutor

News

Man arrested for harassing witness in Demur Sturua-case

by | September 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was arrested in western Georgia on Saturday for harassing a witness in the Demur Sturua case. Sturua committed suicide on August 7 and left a note indicating that a local policeman had pressured him to give up names of people who were cultivating

News

State Audit Office asks court to fine six parties for election violations

by | September 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s State Audit Office (SAO) has asked the court to fine six political parties for bribery, illegal donations and other election violations. The office asked the court to issue a 4,000 lari fine to Rima Beridze, a majoritarian candidate for Georgian Dream,

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